Sac State baseball’s six-game winning streak snapped by Portland Pilots

Sheldon Kohatsu

After scoring a combined 19 runs in the previous two games against the University of Portland, Sacramento State baseball was held scoreless snapping its six game-winning streak with a 2-0 loss.

The Hornets did not look like their normal fiery team on the windy day at John Smith Field and were unable to get anything going offensively.

“I don’t think our guys prepared properly,” said Sac State coach Reggie Christiansen. “I don’t think our guys showed up like they had in the previous six or seven games. We didn’t do the things that we normally do.”

Holding Portland hitless for six innings and scoreless for eight, the pitching staff was incredibly effective only allowing three total hits and conceding one walk.

“It was frustrating to let that pitching effort go by the wayside,” Christiansen said. “We had some bad at bats.”

The team’s best opportunity to score went to waste in the eighth inning after Dan Deely led off with a line drive to right field and was moved over courtesy of the sacrifice bunt by senior Kyle Moses. He was left stranded after Vinny Esposito grounded out to the Pilot’s shortstop and Chris Lewis struck out looking on a nasty breaking ball.

Despite the squad’s seven hits, they were unable to produce any runs at the plate with their hits being scattered throughout the innings.

“It was just one of those days,” said junior Nathan Lukes. “We didn’t string hits together. They had three hits in the game and it just so happened that they strung them together, and it won them the ball game.”

Portland got two of its three hits in the ninth inning off the Hornets’ pitcher Justin Dillon that combined with Dan Deely’s error, which led to the only two runs of the game.

Recovering lefty Jake Stassi started his first game for the Hornets, throwing two scoreless innings on 27 pitches and capped of his performance with his only strikeout on the day.

“It was great to be back out there again,” Stassi said. “It’s been a really long time. Getting out their facing hitters and competing again is a lot of fun. It’s the number one thing I missed.”

As the season goes on, Stassi’s workload will be increased with his next start being against Texas Tech University. He hopes he will be able to tack on another inning.

Unfortunately for the Hornets, third baseman Brandon Hunley had to make an early exit after fouling a ball off his kneecap in the second inning. Luckily he was able to walk off the field after dropping on the dirt.

“It’s probably just a bruise,” Hunley said. “I feel fine. I’ll be back by the time we get to Texas.”

The Hornets will need to be in full strength starting their five-game road trip with a four-game series against No. 5 ranked Texas Tech and concluding their trip with a single game against Fresno State.

Look for the team’s intensity to bounce back on their testing road trip, matching the atmosphere of these highly competitive games.

“I think hopefully they learned their lesson,” Christiansen said. “We have a lot of really young guys who haven’t gone through it. I expect our older guys not to allow that to happen again.”

Behind starting pitcher Brennan Leitao, who will open up the series Thursday Feb. 26 at noon versus Texas Tech, Sac State will look to get back on track with hopes of winning the series opener and returning home with a successful road trip.